ATLANTA (AP) — Two young women have filed lawsuits alleging that misconduct at a Georgia Tech fraternity — including members referring to women as "rapebait" — led to them being raped, their lawyers said Thursday.
The women, who filed the lawsuits as "Jane Doe" and "June Doe," claim they were raped by the same unnamed Phi Kappa Tau fraternity member, one in November 2012 and the other in January 2014. The Georgia Tech chapter, the national fraternity organization and the chapter adviser are among those named as defendants in the lawsuits. Georgia Tech is not a defendant.
The suits allege the national organization and chapter adviser Robert Tobey turned a blind eye as the Georgia Tech chapter exhibited pro-rape attitudes and misogyny.
The lawsuits cite chapter meeting minutes from March 2013 that say "rape is good;" an email from fall 2013 that refers to "luring rapebait" at alcohol-fueled parties and a seven-step playbook used by the chapter members to target women; sexual conquest tallies kept by the chapter; and lyrics from a chapter Christmas party song filled with profanity and violence toward women.
Two phone numbers listed for Tobey were disconnected.
The Phi Kappa Tau national organization released a statement Thursday saying the complaints "highlight an offensive email and disturbing statements made in 2013 by chapter members and attempt to somehow link the alleged sexual assaults in 2012 and 2014 to that conduct."
The group says that the plaintiffs' attorney "chose to exploit the hypersensitivity of today's college environment toward sexual assault by drafting the complaints in a manner that sensationalizes completely inappropriate statements, while at the same time alleging that a Georgia Tech student committed criminal rapes of two different women."
The fraternity says it has "only anecdotal information about what may have occurred" because no criminal charges have been filed against the student accused of rape. The statement also notes that the national organization moved quickly, along with the university administration, to close the chapter when it learned fraternity policies had been violated and that a possible sexual assault had occurred.
Georgia Tech, known formally as the Georgia Institute of Technology, in March suspended the Phi Kappa Tau chapter through July 2017. The school said at the time that the fraternity was responsible for six violations, including failure to comply with sanctions imposed after an initial investigation into the "rapebait" email.
The lawsuits do not name the fraternity member accused of rape. He was arrested after the alleged rape of "Jane Doe" in January 2014 and a criminal investigation is ongoing, the lawsuits say. Georgia Tech expelled the fraternity member for violating its sexual misconduct policy and has rejected his appeals, the lawsuits say.
The lawsuit filed by college student "June Doe" says that before and during a November 2012 party, her alleged assailant and his friends plied her with alcohol to the point that she was physically incapacitated. The fraternity member then took her back to his room and "raped her while she lay helpless, dizzy, sick and frozen," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit filed by "Jane Doe," who attended a nearby college, says she and some friends attended a party at the fraternity, where they were given alcohol. She then went to use a bathroom attached to the alleged assailant's room. When she came out, she discovered that he had come into the room and closed the door. He then raped her, the lawsuit says. She reported it to Georgia Tech police a few days later.
Both lawsuits claim the chapter adviser and national fraternity organization knew about the problems at the chapter and were negligent in failing to prevent them.
The lawsuits seek unspecified punitive and compensatory damages and ask for jury trials.